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Reimagine Virtual Candlelight Vigil with Joyelle McSweeney and Danusha Laméris

Let's honor our loved ones, hold space for grief, and reflect on the possibilities of transformation with poets Joyelle McSweeney and Danusha Laméris.

Reimagine has been hosting candlelight vigils since March 2020, the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to break down taboos and hold space for all that we've lost. This gathering features two acclaimed poets in conversation: Joyelle McSweeney and Danusha Laméris. Our other featured guest is author, therapist, dancer, and Reimagine community collaborator Dr. Sheila K. Collins.

Guggenheim Fellow Joyelle McSweeney is the author of the recently released Death Styles (Nightboat, 2024). After McSweeney’s infant daughter died, she paused her writing for two years and returned with this collection, which the The New York Times compares to "a volcano, spewing details of pop culture and regular life amid waves of grief and perseverance." She has written nine other books of poetry, drama, fiction, criticism and translation. McSweeney's previous title, Toxicon and Arachne (Nightboat, 2020), was called "frightening and brilliant" by Dan Chiasson in the New Yorker and won the Shelley Memorial Prize from the Poetry Society of America. A co-founder of the international press Action Books, McSweeney is recipient of a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a co-winner of the MLA's Aldo and Jean Scaglione Prize for Translation for Yi Sang: Selected Works.  She teaches at Notre Dame, and lives in South Bend, Indiana.



Danusha Laméris is a poet and essayist. Her first book, The Moons of August (2014), was chosen by Naomi Shihab Nye as the winner of the Autumn House Press poetry prize and was a finalist for the Milt Kessler Book Award. Some of her work has been published in: The Best American Poetry, POETRY Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, The American Poetry Review, The Gettysburg Review, Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review, and Orion. She was the 2020 recipient of the Lucille Clifton Legacy Award and her second book, Bonfire Opera (University of Pittsburgh Press, Pitt Poetry Series), was a finalist for the Paterson Award, and the winner of the 2021 Northern California Book Award in Poetry. As the 2018-2020 Poet Laureate of Santa Cruz County, California, Laméris co-founded The Hive Poetry Collective; a radio show, podcast, and event hub. She is on the faculty of Pacific University's Low-Residency MFA program and teaches The Path of Poetry workshops online. Her third book, Blade by Blade, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press September 10th, 2024.



Dr. Sheila K Collins’ 40+-year career as a therapist, social work professor, and author has benefited from wisdom gleaned during an earlier career as a professional dancer. Her award-winning memoir, Warrior Mother: Fierce Love, Unbearable Loss and the Rituals that Heal chronicles her journeys with two of her three children through disease and death, leading to her becoming a grief advocate, coach, international speaker, and improvisational artist. Inspiring people to turn grief into gift, her upcoming book, The Art of Grieving: How Art and Artmaking Help Us Grieve, and Live Our Best Lives explores how the arts of storytelling, dance, music, and visual arts help mourners navigate episodes of grief, process loss, and extract meaning and wisdom for their future lives. Her 2018 book Stillpoint: A Self-Care Playbook for Caregivers to Find Ease, and Time to Breathe and Reclaim Joy has become a popular weekly online course for caregivers offered on Reimagine. Sheila currently directs InterPlay Pittsburgh and the Wing & A Prayer Pittsburgh Players, an InterPlay-based performance troupe she founded in 2006 to assist human service agencies and art organizations in accomplishing their noble purposes. She regularly hosts programs on Reimagine's event platform.


About Reimagine

Reimagine is a nonprofit organization catalyzing a uniquely powerful community–people of different backgrounds, ages, races, and faiths (and no faith) coming together in the hopes of healing ourselves and the world. We specifically support each other in facing adversity, loss, and mortality and – at our own pace – actively channeling life's biggest challenges into meaningful action and growth.

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